Seekin' My World

Brenda's wanderings and wishings

Couch modification May 6, 2017

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Modifications,Solar panels — Sierrashadow @ 5:33 am
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I have not liked the legs ATC put on my couch back to create the lower sleeping platform since day one. It didn’t feel secure and the brackets were cutting into the carpet they installed. True it was hidden by said couch back, but it still bugged me. It also didn’t allow the couch back to lean back into a comfortable recline angle. It was too vertical. So I pondered, and came up with a possible solution for me at least. I have a Sterlite box with latches that was the exact right height, if I bought two or three more, they might support the overhang. So off to Wal-Mart.

These boxes also ride well on the windowsill lip behind the couch. I placed a little sticky backed Velcro on the bottom of the boxes to keep them from sliding around up there. The plan is to travel with them up there, but if I want the bed with the top latched down (stealth mode), I can flip the boxes over and place them in the aisle. The same Velcro should help the couch back stick to the boxes and not slide around. It still leaves a little bit of an aisle, and widens the cramped feeling on the bed because things are no longer riding on that windowsill.

I only bought two so far and put food in one and some assorted clutter in the other. Then there is a third one that I currently use as my portapottie which is strapped into the aisle at the front. I don’t think I will be able to use it for that purpose because the aisle is so cramped, but it will help support the extended bed.

I took the folding legs off but will keep them and the screws handy in case this doesn’t work. Stealth mode isn’t actually something I plan to do often, but it is nice to have options.
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I also got a picture of my writing desk. I use the folding table with the ice chest on top. It puts it at the right level for writing, painting or drawing. It fits in the aisle.

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I just got back from a quick trip down the coast. Sunset at Morro Bay was beautiful.

Morro Bay sunset

At Carpenteria State Beach I spent a half an hour watching a Great Blue Heron in the campground catching gophers. He was quite good at it. It took only three flicks to get the prey lined up correctly to slide down the gullet. heron hunting

I enjoyed lunch in Ojai at a park all to myself. It always amazes me how people congregate in certain areas and are nowhere to be found in others.

Ojai lunch

I needed the get away to prepare for our upcoming move. We didn’t get the house I hinted about a few months ago, but got one that is better! The garage is also high enough for the camper/Tacoma combo, but it will be several months before it is clean and organized enough for one car much less two. So at the end of the month things will be pretty hectic.

I also enjoyed the roof mounted solar. When I was at ATC recently, I asked them to mount the panel on the roof. It is wonderful not to have to schlep it around, lock it up, worry about tearing the upholstery when sliding it in and out of the back seat, scratching it somehow. I loved the portable solar but the permanently mounted is ten times better. If I stop at an attraction for a few hours it continues to charge, so even if I didn’t drive around all day, I am good to go for the evening. It did make lifting the lid a bit heavier, even with the external shocks. Remember, I am a wimpy 60 year old woman. If I can do it anyone can.

 

Where’s Waldo September 22, 2016

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Festival camping,Solar panels — Sierrashadow @ 10:37 pm
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Kind of hard to find me, huh?

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This is what Millpond festival camping is all about. At least I had great neighbors.

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And the view out the door was spectacular.

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And this is a pretty incredible setting for a music festival.

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Until… Oh-oh!

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and…

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So on the way home I stopped along the side of the road and watched the air attack. The loop times for the big pink drops were well over 45 minutes. I think they were coming from somewhere near Fresno and this was between Mammoth and June Lake. I am very grateful that I live so close to Columbia Air Attack Base since I live in the urban interface. When we had a fire a few miles away last year, they were making drops on a 15 minute interval and got it knocked down quickly. It is so fascinating to see the choreography between the helicopters and planes jockeying for position. Everyone cleared out when the big guys came in.

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I was headed over to Yosemite for an art class. I was camped in the deep shadow of Glacier Point (the best sites) but needed the sun for solar charging. So I set the solar panels up in the picnic ground daily. I used the jumbo pool noodles to pad the roof of the ATC cut to fit the inside of the solar frame and not fall out.

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and ran a steel cable from the tow loops to the frame of the panel and padlocked it to the frame.

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Then I coiled the cables and steel cable and bungied it to the tailgate latch point, so people wouldn’t snag on it. My local hardware store was great about making me a cable with two loops on the end since I don’t have the crimping tool necessary. $16 bucks is pretty cheap insurance against casual theft. Anyone with decent tools could get it, but if they want it that bad…

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I think in the near future we will get the panel attached to the roof. This schlepping it around isn’t fun. But I was able to do this in less than 5 minutes, so it wasn’t too bad.

 

Clark Fork (Not Clark’s) Highway 108 August 15, 2016

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations,Modifications,Solar panels — Sierrashadow @ 5:12 am
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I had never noticed that it is not possessive. It is almost hard to say it without the s on the end. Anyway, I needed a quick get away in my  C.O.W. (Cabin on Wheels) to escape the heat. This summer had a series of trips with family and friends that didn’t involve using the camper. I did enjoy pup tent camping again when we went to Arkansas, but the ground got pretty old after just a few days, even with the 3.5″ REI pad. I like the creature comforts that the camper provides.

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This was the first trip that used the solar panel, even though I probably could have gotten away without it for just the one night. I devised a good transport system. The Tacoma has loops on the seat bottoms to lift for storage underneath. I hooked a bungie through this loop and then up around the pole for the headrest. It didn’t budge at all.

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I had forgotten that Clark Fork has more than the usual campground cacophony. In addition to the college kids up late laughing around the campfire, there was a herd of cattle in the adjoining meadow with cow bells. They all have a similar pitch, but with slight variations. Loud near sundown, but settling down to faint all night. Actually it is kind of relaxing.

I went in to check out a new campground I heard about near Beardsley Reservoir. I almost don’t want to share since it is such a gem. TeleLi puLaya (Black Oak)  http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/stanislaus/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=80290&actid=29 has 20 sites and opened in 2014. Several of the sites sit right on the edge of the canyon and have fabulous views. I didn’t get pictures, but the weblink has nice ones. I also checked out the Beardsley campground across the dam, but they are pretty crammed together and don’t have lake access, not my style. But since I was down there I headed over to the day use area and had a picnic lunch and read my book for a while. Lots of families enjoying the lake, but way calmer than Pinecrest would have been. I refuse to go to Pinecrest between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

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One full year of retirement and owning my ATC Bobcat. As my friends get ready to begin another year, I sure don’t miss the stress I see in their faces. I am looking forward to the start of the school year so the campgrounds will be quiet and available again.

 

Organizing, again July 23, 2016

I spent some time in the Bobcat today fixing a few things that bugged me. And documenting.

This is how I keep my curtain hooked while in transit. It keeps the other end from coming off the hook and making me put my fat hand in a very small space. It also keeps the Campsite Occupied sign, my solar oven panels, and the little folding table I have there from sliding out. Win-win. Have you heard of a Copenhagen cooker. I love it.  http://www.sclaustoys.com/Solar%20Oven.html Currently $44 and well worth it. Takes up practically no space at all and provides options.

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I got tired of having to look through all four tubs to find what I was looking for. I sorted them all into matched purposes, and labeled the fronts with big titles and tiny inventories. I know I will end up changing it, but at least it is a start.

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I like putting my pillows here because they get just a little squished when I lower the top, but they do slide on the slick formica. So I had been using velcro and shoelaces, but it was starting to pull off the wall. So I bought some D rings on flaps that can be screwed in. I used the preexisting holes from the bed slide and it doesn’t impact that purpose at all.

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In my solar post below, I never really got a good shot of the connection and the way the carabiner takes the weight off the connection. The previous post showed the connector, a carabiner and two bungie cord ends.

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Solar Happy Dance July 10, 2016

Filed under: Modifications,Solar panels — Sierrashadow @ 3:09 am
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It was a long stretch between panel arrival to installation, but we finally have juice. My poor husband had to work in tight quarters, and we put it off the week the temps were hovering around 100.

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I had purchased the 40 foot extension cord intending to cut it in half and use the cut ends with the plug that ATC provided when we ordered the Solar wiring package. But I was overruled. Warren wanted to buy 2 twenty footers (another delay). The beauty of his idea is I can use the 2 twenty footers normally and if I need 40 foot, the two cables can be connected to make a 40 footer to go with the one I bought (you need two cables +/- from the panel to the rig).

Here is my idea for support legs to angle the panel for morning and evening operation. I am using three pieces of PVC pipe and 2 90 degree elbows to make a large U shape. I made 2 elastic bands with round elastic and large buttons. The loop is the same size as the pipe. The panel has holes in the back of the frame. The loop goes through those holes and the button keeps it from going all the way through. Then the pipe gets threaded through the loops supporting the bottom of the U, which is really the top of the support. The bottom of the pipes have tie wrap loops to stake it down. I haven’t glued the PVC together so I can take it apart for transit. This is totally untested, but you have to start somewhere.

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Warren was concerned about the weight of the cables pulling on the butt connectors between the Renogy cables and the connector provided by ATC. So he rigged up a carabiner on the Jack mount point. Then two old fashioned bungee hooks that take the weight off  everything above that. That way if anyone trips over the cables, they won’t yank the whole thing out either. Gotta love that clever man.

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